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Linux: what's it good for?

Mark Kastner_1
Occasional Visitor

Linux: what's it good for?

The hype around Linux has exponentially sky-rocketed. I know we can never have
enough operating system choices, but I'm interested in understanding where the
IT community believes Linux fits and what Linux does best. Any input???
Don Cooley
Occasional Visitor

Re: Linux: what's it good for?

Linux is great for small and mid-sized companies that
want to get better utilization of their older Pentium or
486 PC's. We have 500+ people at our facility and we run
our NIS server, news server, mail gateway, etc... On Linux.
Also the fact that so many of the applications are free
helps a lot for departments with limited budgets.
I have been using it for my Network Management workstation
for about 1 1/2 years now and love it. I can do almost
everything in Linux as a Systems Admin at zero cost for software.
Almost anything that we do on our SUN Boxes can be done under
Linux. Have you tried using Linux at all?
Mike Turner_4
Occasional Visitor

Re: Linux: what's it good for?

I'd say the primary use for Linux at present is to take
load off your larger UNIX servers by farming out services
such as DNS, NIS, etc.

You can also get rid of your NT servers in a lot of areas, using
Linux hosts to control NT domains, file shares, print shares
and even mail services. With identical hardware, you should
get better performance and reliability with Linux.

If you're doing a lot of processing that is disk bound, rather
than CPU bound, such as processing long lists of data, Linux
is a very cheap way to get very good performance by running
multiple hosts.
Jason Fink_1
Occasional Visitor

Re: Linux: what's it good for?


Hello Mark, I think I have seen you before when I ran a web site at:

and now at:

and you asked the same question(s). While I am trying to figure out if it is a
loaded question, I'll expound upon what everyone else has already said:

- awesome network and internetwork service box
- yep - great for replacing NT
- yep - great fileserver


- free programming tools left and right that can be cross compiled to HP-UX
- best price development system
- best price test box (backup drills etc.)

I have found Linux the best as a central admin workstation. I have most of my
boxes nfs mounted right to a workstation at my desk, telnet of course and a
barrage of other connectivity methods. Being able to use an editor as potent as
gvim, vim or Xemacs and just dump them onto a HP box is great.

But here is the best thing I have gotten out of Linux,
check out this article:
about what I was able to deduce from learning how a Linux kernel works and
apply it to HP Systems.

I think gaining a better understanding of architectures is the greatest thing
Linux can provide.

oh yeah it's free . . .
Richard Tirtadji
Occasional Visitor

Re: Linux: what's it good for?

Hemm.. Have you ever try using LINUX? Well, its cheap alternative for replacing
your NT server which is expensive and unstable. Also, if you need a good
webserver (in most cases all company is now running Intranet) LINUX is an
excellent choice. It have Apache + PHP3 + PERL + MySQL = Powerfull Intranet

Linux performace are much much better, yet easy to maintain. It come pack with
all the required apps with no extra cost. An it run on old PC (486 + 16MB)

If you want a cheap LINUX SuSE distribution come with 1300+ apps, can you
imagine have 1300+ apps in NT and how much will that cost you and your company?

Anyway.. Try it then you will know what is the hype that everyone is talking
Jeff Turner_4
Occasional Visitor

Re: Linux: what's it good for?

I believe that Linux is fast becoming an alternative to Microsoft's desktop. As
more applications are becoming web or browser-based, it is now possible to use
Linux with Netscape or other internet/intranet software to become as productive
as is currently possible on a desktop PC running Windows 95/98/NT.

Also, Linux is much more efficient in the server area, so could be a more
cost-effective and higher performance alternative to NT servers for
departmental operations.

Given that most larger organisations also have existing UNIX skills, this would
ease the deployment of Linux and allow for best-practice system administration
from the start of implementation.
Florent Villard
Occasional Visitor

Re: Linux: what's it good for?


My point is that Linux is _not_ good at one thing or another. Linux is not an
operation system, it is a way of developping, _and_ the linux operating system
is a result of this.

As a consequence linux is good at _whatever_ you make it good at, there is no
limit. The only constraint is that you have to _share_ your improvment. But
with the total access to the source you are able to improve one specific part
of the kernel without having to maintain all the system.

Linux is young because the people developing it until now are young and have a
limited access to powerfull hardware. Today this student OS challenges world
class commercial OS. Just think what Linux can be when experience OS people
that work on 64 to 512 proc machines participate to its development.

The real question is that the marketting and commercial forces are today miles
away of this philosophy and try deseperatly to place Linux OS in one of their
old product matrix, whereas linux is modular solution that can be fitted to any
problem, given that you have the competences to build this solution.

And the point today is to find enought competences to build fitted solutions
for every customer.

Grant Spencer_1
Occasional Visitor

Re: Linux: what's it good for?


We have recently replaced our Departmental NT4 Server with Redhat Linux v5.2
running SAMBA. SAMBA enables us to map UNIX Filesystems to Network Drives under
Windoze. (Sorry Window's - it's not that I'm in anyway a UNIX bigot!)

The benefit for us in doing this is that our ability to remotely support our PC
file and print services (e.g. from home) has greatly improved. The Window's
environment has never been 100% reliable either in the Office or when working
remotely. We are forced to use 3rd Party Products like PC Anywhere to enable us
to 'take control' of the NT Server and aside from being slow - it fails on a
regular basis.

We also use the same Linux system to provide Network management functionality.
This machine (via a modem) communicates using SMS (short messaging service) to
send alerts to our mobile phones when we have problems with any of our large
HPUX systems. For example, disk space, printing, database and network issues.
These alerts are propagated to the Linux Console using the 'xdialog' component
under X.

We are also using another Linux system as a Development Platform for a WEB
based service. This machine is running the WEB Server Apache with the bulk of
the HTML being generated by Perl code. Our production WEB server is now based
on an HP System running Apache also - but it was originally ported from the
Linux machine. We use HP for our production system primarily because of our
Support & Disaster Recovery Contracts with HP. Originally, this work was
undertaken using NT4, Access and VB Script. It was ditched for performance and
reliability reasons.

I am using Linux on my PC in the Office now to learn more about Perl, Apache,
SAMBA and Squid (Proxy Cache). The list just goes on...!

Anyway...hope your still awake after reading all this!!